Live rabbits are often thought of as ideal Easter gifts, but humane societies caution against making an impulse purchase because of the care required and their long life span.
8-10 years — Average life span of domesticated rabbits, comparable to dogs
Rabbits are the third most owned, and simultaneously third most surrendered, pet in Massachusetts, after dogs and cats.
370 — Number of rabbits that were surrendered to the MSPCA in 2014
Lionhead Rabbit — The breed most frequently taken in by the MSPCA. It is known for the tufts of fur framing its face like a mane.
> 154,686 dogs up for adoption in and around Boston on Petfinder.com at press time
> 114,285 cats
> 4,492 rabbits
> 2,790 gerbils, rats, hamsters, etc.
> 1,987 birds
> 179 pigs
> Carrots are treats. Rabbits are grazing animals, like horses or cows. They prefer to eat hay and grass, with a side of selected leafy greens and plain food pellets.
> Rabbits have a high risk of developing cancer. Reproductive cancers are the most common, so if you spay or neuter your rabbit, chances are you are simultaneously extending their life span.
> If you’re worried about a mess, get this: Rabbits can be box-trained like cats. Just make sure to hold the litter and use alfalfa instead.
> Rabbits can be trained like dogs to perform tricks. Some can sit when told, roll small objects on command, and even jump through hoops.
IS THAT YOU PETER?
1901 — English author Beatrix Potter releases a privately printed version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
1902 — Frederick Warne & Co. commercially publishes the book.
1910 — Thornton Waldo Burgess of Sandwich, Massachusetts, publishes his first book, Old Mother West Wind, which features a character named Peter Rabbit. The children’s author goes on to write more than 170 books.
1965 — Burgess dies at the age of 91.
2015 — Burgess’s fans can visit the Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary (413-584-3009; massaudubon.org) in Hampden and see his former home, as well as East Sandwich’s Green Briar Nature Center (508-888-6870; thorntonburgess.org), operated by the Thornton W. Burgess Society.